Oh No Annie! Annie Thorisdottir Pulls Out from the Open With a Back Injury

It’s always unfortunate to hear when an athlete is out with an injury and is unable to compete. I was really looking forward to seeing Annie Thorisdottir go head to head against Sam Briggs.  Unfortunately, the 2-year reigning Crossfit champion, Annie Thorisdottir, announced that she has sustained a disc herniation last week, forcing her to pullout of the open.

What is a herniated disc?

 A herniated disc involves the displacement of the central disc material, composed of the nucleus pulposus and the annulus fibrosis, beyond the intervertebral disc space. The main job of the spinal disc is to provide shock absorbency and help keep our back mobile.  When the disc is herniated out of place, it can place pressure onto the spinal nerve root and cause neuropathy.

Symptoms of a herniated lumbar disc

  • Leg and/or foot pain
  • Low back/ buttock pain
  • Numbness, weakness, tingling in the leg and/or foot
  • Red flag: loss of bladder/bowel control called cauda equina syndrome




    Decrease the amount of inflammation to the area by

  • Ceasing heavy physical activity (stop lifting those weights!)
  • Rest (can continue movements that don't cause pain or increase symptoms)
  • Ice
  • Taking anti-inflammatiories/muscle relaxants/pain medication as recommended by your doctor

    Regain range of motion and strength

  • Initially you may want to avoid any movements that may cause pain
  • Gentle range of motion exercises may begin once the inflammation has subsided
  • Core strengthening is important to build and strengthening the musculature around the low back to prevent re-injury



  • Surgery is considered when all conservative methods have been exhausted. Remember surgery involving the spine and nerves is a major undertaking!

Save Yourself

 Many herniated discs are the result of gradual, age related degeneration, but being in Crossfit world, you’re more likely herniate a disc while twisting and lifting heavier weights. Especially when you’re tired, your form is more likely to be compromised and that's when you’re prone to an injury.  It doesn’t take much for this to happen, particularly when you’re on an adrenaline high. I don’t know how Annie actually hurt her back; I can imagine it could have been from either heavy loads or high repetitive movements.


Bottom line: If your form is compromised, don’t lift that weight. Imagine having your lift videotaped for all to see, if you’re not proud of your form, it’s probably not good enough.

Wishing Annie Thorisdottir a full and speedy recovery. Hope to see you kick ass in next year’s competition!


Jessie Wong, Physiotherapist from the Physio Room


*The exercises provided on this website are for educational purposes only, and are not to be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, or course of action. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. They include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat, and very rare instances of heart attack.

To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, please consult a healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation. We disclaim any liability from and in connection with this program. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult a physician.


*If you have any of the above symptoms, especially loss of bowel/bladder, please see your  health care professional*


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